MANILA, Philippines — The family of Horacio Tomas “Atio” Castillo III has decided to include University of Santo Tomas College of Law Dean Nilo Divina and other school officials as among the defendants in the Sept. 17 hazing death case of the 22-year-old freshman law student.
Lorna Kapunan, the Castillo family’s lawyer, on Wednesday said that after the Senate’s Sept. 25 investigation into the death of Atio, it appeared that Divina and other UST officials had in hand in the alleged cover-up of the case.
“He (Divina) was informed, he was already told the name of Horacio. At that time, UST hospital did not know there was anyone there. At that time, the Chinese General Hospital did not know the identity of Horacio,” Kapunan told reporters.
“The question (is): How come the dean knew when he heard mass on Sunday and yet he did not do anything? The dean should know that he was a student. And the very least, for humanitarian reason, should inform the parents,” she added.
In a statement issued Wednesday, Divina said it was “unfortunate that Atio’s family is being manipulated by their lawyer into doing something that is patently baseless.”
“Our objective should be to find justice for Atio and find out the truth. Instead, the obvious objective is now to lay the blame on innocent people to further the lawyer’s personal agenda,” Divina added.
Kapunan is the lawyer of Patricia Bautista, the estranged wife of Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista, who last Sept. 26 filed before the Supreme Court a disbarment case against Divina.
According to Patricia, Divina and his 20 colleagues at DivinaLaw violated the Code of Professional Responsibility because they allegedly engaged in corrupt deals with the Comelec chief.
The poll chief’s wife claimed her husband had received commissions from DivinaLaw for “assisting the law firm’s clients with the Comelec.”
On Wednesday, Kapunan said the Castillo family also wanted to know who decided to have Atio’s remains embalmed and who brought his body from the hospital to the funeral parlor.
“Kinuha raw ng SOCO [The Scene of the Crime Operatives reportedly took possession of the body]. So the question (is): Who told the Chinese General Hospital to remove the body? Who identified the body? No member of the family was able (do it), (they were) not informed,” said Kapunan.
Wednesday’s preliminary investigation into Castillo’s death did not push through following the decision of Atio’s relatives to file a supplemental affidavit to include more respondents to the case and pieces of evidence such as the transcript of the Senate inquiry and the phone records of individuals who could be linked to the slay.
The Department of Justice gave Castillo’s family until Monday, Oct. 9, to submit the supplemental affidavit while the defendants were given until Oct. 24 to submit their counter-affidavits.
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